Before we get started, a few quick notes:
* Store bought soy milk: The better the soy milk, the better the tofu. The problem with store bought soy milk is that you don’t know the brix (the percentage of dissolved solids) in the milk, which will effect firmness and coagulation time. Store bought soy milks also often have added ingredients like oils or sweeteners. So when using store bought soy milk, you are taking a bit of a gamble. Yes, you will still be able to make tofu, but you won’t have the same control over the firmness of your finished product. In addition, it also becomes more expensive.
* Coagulants: In my experimenting I’ve used a variety of coagulants. My personal favorite is tofu made with one of the forms of nigari because it makes a firmer tofu. The other coagulants produce a softer tofu, and tofu produced with lemon juice is a bit tangier. If using a coagulant other than nigari, I suggest pressing it for a bit longer.
* Pressing weights: Although I often use a large can of peaches or something similar as my weight in pressing my tofu, you can also use a ziploc bag filled with dried beans or pie weights.
Quick and Easy One Hour Tofu
-4 cups soy milk
-Coagulant–choose one of the following:
1) 1 tsp. liquid nigari or
2) 1 1/4 tsp. granular or powdered nigari or
3) 1 tsp. Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) or
4) 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (freshly squeezed) or
5) 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1. Measure coagulant into a dry cup. Add 1/2 cup water to coagulant and stir until dissolved. Set aside.
2. Pour milk into a pot and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring from time to time (so that the milk doesn’t burn).
3. Reduce heat and simmer soy milk for 3 minutes.
4. Remove the pot from heat. Add half of the coagulant mixture to the soy milk, stirring with a spatula in a whirlpool pattern. After stirring vigorously 5 or 6 times, bring spoon to a halt upright in the soy milk and wait until all turbulence ceases. Then add the remaining coagulant mixture, and this time stir gently in a figure eight pattern. When you notice that the soy milk is beginning to coagulate, cover the pot and let it sit for 15 minutes.
5. Line a small colander with a clean tightly woven cotton cloth and set the colander over a bowl that can support it, or in the kitchen sink. 6. Using either a skimmer or a slotted spoon, scoop out the curds (the curds are the solid bits and the liquid is the whey) and transfer them into the cloth-lined colander (or tofu press if you’re using one).
7. Fold the cloth over the top of the coagulated soy milk, and place a weight of about 1 1/2 pounds on top. I like to place something between the tofu and the weight (like a plate) so that the weight is evenly distributed and gives better shaped tofu. Set the bag of weights on top and press down firmly until the liquid draining from the bottom has slowed to a few drops, about 2 minutes.
8. Let the tofu set up for about 15 to 20 minutes.
9. Once the tofu has firmed up as desired, place a large bowl in the sink and fill it with cold water. Remove the weight from the tofu, unfold the cloth, and gently transfer the tofu into the bowl of cold water. Gently run cold water from the tap into the bowl for 15 minutes, without letting the water hit the tofu directly.
10. Serve the tofu immediately or store it in fresh cold water in the refrigerator.
This particular batch of tofu was made using apple cider vinegar as a coagulant. You might notice that it is a bit softer looking.